Monthly Archives: February 2022

Earworm of the day

The first shot of ODDTAXI is a cinderblock-weighted, tarp-wrapped body sinking into deep water.

This is its ending theme.

I love a good dissonant song choice. Five stars.

Every so often I think: I ought to post pointless thoughts like this on Twitter or something, that’s what it’s for. But then I remind myself that a life goal of mine is to spend as close to 0% of my remaining time on earth as possible arguing with assholes, and that’s what Twitter is also for — so uh, here we are.

(That said, I did not realize the DMs on my reading account were turned off. They’re on now. So like, if anyone has any… questions, I guess? @sadsackgetdown. I am not interested in buying any get rich quick schemes, thank you)

Bookwise, I’m in the middle of rewriting act 3 after pulling what used to be the main plot point in it. It didn’t feel right. We’ll see what remains in act 3, i.e. tying up the threads in acts 1 and 2, and go from there.

I’m starting to feel like some of the stuff in book 3 belongs in another book. I think I’ll be done with A&K after this one, but something like “further tales from Wildern.” I want to get into the establishment of germ theory in a world with magic in it, and the strife in a city with a sudden influx of residents and trade, and Nessiny’s overthrowing the monarchy, and eventually the story-world’s version of the Industrial Revolution. [Also: Realizing jokingly that Agna’s story is the Girlboss trilogy; the one I’ve started working on, with two unreliable narrators, is the Gaslight book; so I’m going to need a Gatekeep book. /j]

It is an absolute miracle how other people can plot things and have them make sense, one thing happening after another, with perfect sense and gripping action, everything unfolding with polished precision to keep people turning pages deep into the night. I am truly in awe. I’ve read books on this, I’ve tried outlining over and over, and it still isn’t happening.

Guess this is why I’m a weirdo semi-monetized amateur instead of a pro. Just appreciating pros for a second. Wow.

Back to it.

Just noting

If Gumroad starts pushing NFTs, I’m moving to another system. Just FYI. <3 (and yes, Amazon is also evil, I’m aware. But evil + hilariously transparent scam + melting the planet for no reason = I choose not to support that, thx.)

In the meantime, feel free to buy wherever works out best for you. This is a no-guilting-the-readers-as-long-as-they-aren’t-pirating space.

And if you can’t: if this were a professional writing outfit, I’d say get it from the library — libraries are great, and our household uses Overdrive and Hoopla constantly. However, this is not a professional writing outfit, so my stuff is not in libraries.

So: If you somehow heard of the books, want to read them, and don’t have money, just ask me (contacts are on the About) and I’ll send you an ebook. No need to justify it, just ask. No strings. Life is short, and it would be cool if someone wanted to read one of my piles of words. It’s also cool if people want to pay me for them, because I try to use money for things other than melting the planet.

Anyway, uh, watching out for that. Back to working on books 3 and ?0.5? simultaneously because what is focus, really.

In which I rant a lot about Fruits Basket

(Unstuck in book 3. Except this is procrastinating. Haha.)

Trapped in the house by an ice storm, I called off the day job and spent much of today a) finishing a crocheting project (my poor, exhausted hands!) and b) binging to the end of Fruits Basket 2019, which I can’t help but think of as Fruits Basket: Brotherhood because I’m a dork.

The original Furuba was one of my favorite anime series in the early ’00s. Even then I had an inkling of its weak points, which time has not been kind to — but I have to say, I really enjoyed the remake. This series has always been a bait and switch: the initial concept is goofy and it looks lighthearted, but 80% of the original story is a steamroller of trauma, and the main focus of the show is generational trauma and abusive family dynamics. Nearly every character has a Dark Backstory and a boatload of trauma, and most of the arcs are about each of them finding their way through it, both separately and with one another’s support.

The first animated version dropped off after the trauma just got started, so the balance was off, but this one rolls on right to the end. That last season is a lot of yelling and crying, and all the emotional payoff from all the trauma before it. They get allllll the way through Akito’s often infuriating story. Momiji gets his chance to grow up and be awesome. Rin exists, at all. My dark horse fave Machi exists, at all. (uh, no pun intended w/r/t Rin) The animation is beautiful, even/especially in a series that’s mostly just talking and flashbacks and characters running after one another and passing out in the rain.

However. Yes, the initial goofy-ass concept, covering up all that trauma, still pivots on an annoying hook; and the remake, like the manga, still sets up a handful of characters who might do something interesting with that annoying hook and then pulls all its punches by the end. To put it bluntly, it queerbaits like a show that was originally made in the early ’00s, and only a little less than the original did. Not so much in the shipping sense, but in that some of the characters seem to sidestep the very, very hetero opening concept, but the story never does anything interesting with that. It wasn’t too surprising that the original didn’t, but the remake doesn’t either, in the interest of adhering to the original. And that squandered setup is much more obvious now than it was 20 years ago.

If I may rant about a particularly irksome bit: They ALMOST left Ritsu on a good note. ALMOST. It feels like a lot happened between Ritsu’s second-to-last and last appearances, and there just wasn’t time to cover it, so the character’s motivation is a complete freaking mystery. Dramatic Haircut, giving away personally meaningful belongings, what happened. If the story is suggesting that this had to happen to create a happy ending, fuck that right into space. It would be better to just skip it, or have Ritsu and Kagura hanging out doing absolutely anything else on earth. Including nothing.

[I don’t think I’ve ever read Furuba fanfic, but now I have half a mind to find a nice genfic where Ritsu gets to keep the long hair and pretty clothes and date Mitsuru and the two of them can be chaotic neurotic messes together. <3 I’m going to believe that happened.]

On the plus side, the remake cut out THE most pointless romantic match-up in the endgame. Just one, out of the approx. 8 in the Defensively Heterosexual Hoedown that caps off the series. There’s a couple of lines and a couple of jokes referencing it, but it doesn’t actually happen. They left in the second most egregious and pointless one, though. (Mind you, I can buy the concept of a bisexual/pansexual Ayame, absolutely. But there’s no setup for that ship. Hill, die, etc.)

And yeah, I knew it was coming; this series hits all the right buttons with trauma and squanders every last shred of queer subtext it sets up. Always did. Still does. And I still loved it. I laughed, I cried, I laughcried. It does some things well and some things not-well. Like most stories do.

Now that that’s done, next on my Series to Watch Solo list is either ODDTAXI or Fairy Ranmaru. Which have absolutely nothing in common except that they’re fairly recent, available on my streaming services, and not up my spouse’s alley. (Joint viewing in the anime sphere right now is Aggretsuko. Fenneko remains my favorite, and I really like the slightly loosely translated dub. The end.)